Michael Bushnell

This week’s postcard shows the view of Fairyland Park from the top of the roller coaster in the 1930s. Published by Max Bernstein, the unmailed postcard shows a number of attractions at the popular park once located in south Kansas City.

By the time Fairyland Park was built at 75th Street and Prospect Boulevard in 1923, Electric Park’s luster had already begun to fade. Electric Park began a slow decline after a series of fires systematically destroyed many of the park’s attractions. In the mid 1940’s, after being moved to 47th Street and Paseo Boulevard in 1906, the skeleton of the Coaster was all that remained of Brush Creek’s Great White Way. The Coaster was finally torn down by a developer who bought the land in order to build the Village Green apartments that now occupy the site.

Fairyland was constructed on what was 80 acres of prime pasture land between 75th and 77th Streets, from Prospect Boulevard to Indiana Avenue. The nominal gate charge of 10 cents got you every ride in the place — including The Whip, the Ferris Wheel and the towering Sky Rocket.

Fairyland was the place to hold company picnics, too, as it was host to the annual Whippit-Knight Automobile Dealer picnic. Schools with active PTAs often used the large grassy lawn for school picnics — a familiar sight in Fairyland.

But as luck would have it, fire damaged much of the park in 1938 and in 1942 the Sky Rocket ride was struck by lightning, igniting yet another fire. In 1945 the park was sold to satisfy an outstanding mortgage debt. Even though it passed through a variety of owners, the park stayed open for another 32 years and ultimately closed following its 1977 season.

By that time, a glitzy new, “modern” amusement park named Worlds of Fun, developed by Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, opened up near the Claycomo area.

There was no hoopla surrounding Fairyland’s closing. Apparently seeing the handwriting on the wall, the park simply didn’t open for the 1978 season. No evidence of the park exists today.
Some of the old kiddie-ride cars were sold from a private collection in the West
Bottoms about a decade ago.

These black and white photographs are part of the Anderson Photo Archives of the Jackson County Historical Society.